PSR Statement on the EPA’s Proposed Soot Standard January 9, 2023

CONTACT: Isabella Javidan, ijavidan@psr.org, 612-812-3231

On January 6th, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a proposed revision of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for particulate matter, otherwise known as PM or soot. It proposes to set the annual health standard somewhere between 9-10 micrograms per cubic meter. Although this is an improvement over the current standard—12 micrograms—it does not adequately protect humans from health harms. It is irresponsible that EPA has chosen to ignore the abundance of scientific evidence that shows stronger limits on soot pollution are essential to prevent premature deaths and protect public health. 

Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) is disappointed by the EPA’s lax decision to propose an annual health standard for soot that does not prioritize human health.

“This proposal disregards the severe impacts on health from particulate pollution. Particulates harm every major organ system in the body, including the respiratory system, the cardiovascular system, and the nervous system. Furthermore, this rule does not fulfill the Biden administration’s stated commitment to follow the science, protect our air and health, and advance protections and justice for communities traditionally overburdened by pollution,” stated Barbara Gottlieb, Environment and Health Program Director at PSR. 

“Ozone and particulate matter together contribute to the four leading causes of death in the U.S.: heart disease, cancer, diseases of the respiratory system, and stroke. EPA must revise their decision to provide the necessary protection to our communities,” she added. 

PSR will continue to work tirelessly to advocate federal policies and programs that safeguard clean air and a livable climate. 

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